How will Memorial Day travel be? Your guess is as good as AAA’s
For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast as the accuracy of the economic data used to create the forecast has been undermined by COVID-19.
But AAA is hoping to be back with the forecast next year.
New Jersey's stay-at-home orders remain in place, so not a lot of people are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend, said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Tracy Noble. But she said people are starting to research travel. Many have a lot of time on their hands, so they're looking to the future and figuring out where to go once the travel restrictions are lifted.
Noble said AAA is doing its homework now. But she said AAA is expecting trips not to be destination ones, but rather local and regional ones, to visit friends and family would-be travelers haven't seen since the pandemic began.
Bookings have been sporadic in April, Noble said. Online bookings have been rising modestly, but she said this really is a wait-and-see game.
Noble predicts that when stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions are restricted, people will gravitate more toward road travel, rather than hopping flights. She expects people to take to the roads to see what parts of The United States have to offer.
There may be an increase in people taking RV trips because the vehicles are contained units where travelers can control the cleaning and the cooking, and they don't have to rely on outside services. She also suggested people will be more skeptical about boarding planes, especially as family units.
Noble noted some states requiring or recommend that visitors from other states quarantine once they get there. So it would be tough to plan a weekend getaway if those states have 14-day quarantine orders in place.
In the beginning of the year, travel had increased for all the travel holidays that AAA had monitored through 2019. So Noble said AAA expected to see those same trends in 2020. But then everything came to an abrupt halt when the pandemic erupted.
She said the travel industry can get back, but predicts it will take a few years to rebound as people regain their confidence in travelling.